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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 16, 2015 5:00pm-6:01pm EST

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we prohibit the department of entiinterior from administrativ creating new wilderness areas. we cut the epa funding severely. they're back to a staffing level of 1989. so, there are a number of things in this bill that i think would satisfy the gentleman. not perfectly. we didn't get all we wanted, or i didn't. but we're on track. and i'm very deeply thre lly in in the western u.s. problems that the rest of the country doesn't know much about. >> if the gentleman would yield. >> absolutely. >> i just want to comment on your very thoughtful presentation. and i just remind ourselves that there are 435 members of
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congress representing many, many different points of view. many of the items that you reference, without giving your judgments on them, should be taken up in the authorizing process where there has to be healthy debate. so, i'm just not going to comment on each of them. some we can agree on. many i would disagree with. but i do think that your thoughtful approach warrants further discussion, and i would hope that as we begin the new fiscal year the authorizers would take responsibility for debates, thoughtful agreements and disagreements. and i'm sure your input would be respected and considered. but what happens, when the authorizers don't do their work,
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every side of these debates, which are very serious, may or may not be resolved. and as we were saying before, that some of these issues cannot be resolved among the appropriators, among the chair and the ranking member and all the ranking members of the 12 committees. so, they're pushed up at the end to the leadership level. so, i just want to say that i appreciate your thoughtful questions, and i hope we can address them more thoughtfully in the next session of congress? >> appreciate that. i agree it should be in the committees of jurisdiction where the expertise lies, at least it should. >> amen. >> amen. >> i appreciate that. the gentleman from texas recognized. >> thank you. thank you very much. i want to thank you for taking time to be here. this is more than just your lick at us and the lick back at you
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but to really go into these bills and determine more about them. i would like to say, if i can straight up, that i've been pleased with the amount of information that is available to not only our members in a summary form but also the american public who can look at all 12 spending bills, ascertain where we were, where we're headed, what's included, the important -- which might be extraneous material about what the key issues were. it is available to our members. it's available to them before they have to make a decision necessarily on friday. >> the gentleman yield? >> yes. >> it's also available to the public. >> yes, sir. and to the public. >> online. >> online. i will apologize for the rules
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committee as chairman, i have to recognize this. parliamentarian and the rules committee website was virtually inundated, not taken down, it was inundated with millions of requests for a lot of data, a lot of information. and i do recognize that. so, next time we go to the -- to ask for more money in the budget, maybe they'll hear us and be more beneficial to us. but i wanted you to know, i do recognize that. but it is available. now, for my time what i'd like to say is thank you. thank you to each one of you for sticking to your duties, sticking to working together. i will tell you, i'm interested -- not withstanding what might be a texas issue but
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an issue for the country. lifting the oil ban would create an estimated 1 million american jobs that would impact all 50 states. and within a matter of years, just within a year or two as it kicks off, nita, would add $170 billion annually to our gdp. but there's more to the story. the more to the story is, is that what would happen is, is that lifting the ban would also increase overall energy supplies which would directly benefit the consumer and according to the government accounting office, consumer gas prices here at home could drop again as much as 13 cents per gallon. well, just a few short years ago we became distressed all across
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this country, in particular i work with lots of disabled families who many times have larger vehicles, some things that might be called gas guzzlers, but they need them because they have a lift for people that would be associated with wheelchairs and lots are veterans and veterans family who are trying to take care of these veterans who have needs of a wheelchair. and we were faced with a near disaster as families were trying to struggle to pay $4 and some for gasoline. this weekend dallas, texas, $1.71 for gasoline. $1.71 for gasoline which means that families have seen a huge advantage for not only the technology but also the willingness of this united states congress to stay after this. and, mr. chairman, and i know not everybody agrees with it,
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but getting $170 billion worth of gdp out of this arrangement is an important thing. all 50 states, jobs for people, 1 million american jobs. you know, i don't know how it's said best, but, you know, success has many fathers or many mothers. even people who vote no, if this passes, will get the benefit of $170 billion worth of gdp and a million american jobs and prices that could fall again 13 cents a gallon. i'd like to say that's exhibit "a" of the kind of work, mr. chairman, that you have produced for this country on a bipartisan basis with united states senate and the white house. so, i am not going to rest my case. i will admit that the processes sometimes get difficult on us,
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but the success is the product. the success is the product. and this has much to be done, so, chairman, i'll give you back my time. yes, sir? >> can i be recognized for a question? >> absolutely. yes. the gentleman from texas. >> thank you. and chairman rogers, i know we've been here a long time, and i apologize, but today we got news that the federal reserve raised the interest rate a quarter of a percentage point. at what point do we need to begin to factor that back into our budgetary estimates? that is going to have a direct impact upon our interest payments on the national debt, is it not, and therefore affect the amount of moneys that are available for discretionary spending, is that not correct? >> that's correct. but i'm no expert on this topic you're talking about. >> and i see mr. levin sitting here and he might be able to respond in a more thoughtful
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manner. >> i will await the response. thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> are there any other members that wish to speak? well, i want to thank our esteemed panelists this afternoon. appreciate you coming, sharing with us. it's been a very interesting conversation. a very important topic and thank you very much for being here. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thanks to all the members. >> and i want to thank the chairman and repeat, again, that as the ranking member it's been a pleasure working with our chairman. and i'm particularly grateful for the extraordinary staff on both sides of the aisle on appropriations, because they'll be delighted to finally get to sleep when there is a vote on this bill. >> i don't know why we gave them one day off to tell you the truth. >> i don't know why we can't get this done and vote on thursday. couldn't you make that happen? maybe you will. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. >> so, i'll close the hearing on the omnibus portion of today's
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hearing. and there will be amendments to that. there are some people -- >> we're now going to move as we announced previously, we were going to now finish off the last portion of this which would be considered the tax portion of this, hr 2029 and then we'll go to amendments. >> mr. chairman? >> yes, sir. >> mr. chairman? i'm not quarrelling with the procedure, but were the other members that are here, here for the omnibus or -- >> yes, sir. thank you very much. what we're doing, we were asking -- we have members of the
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committee, and i did not know who all was going to be here, we have mr. bustani coming in here, the first part as we announced at the beginning, we'll do this part and the tax part and then go to amendments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> but this closed that portion of that hearing. so, we'll now go to the gentleman, mr. brady, the gentleman, mr. levin, with the expert witness dr. bustani who is here, and i am delighted, mr. chairman, chairman brady, that you decided to include that. what we want to do is get it right. and the explanation that would be before this committee is always most important and a lot of people are watching, so thank you very much. without objection anything you have in writing we'd love for you to leave for our awesome stenographer, it only helps her to get right whatever you said. the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, chairman. i'm pleased to be here with the ranking member mr. levin and
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also dr. charles bustani. i'd like to talk to you about the p.a.t.h. act, our focus has been on delivering a package that will grow our economy and help american taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars and that's what this bill does. first, it prevents a major $600 billion tax increase on the american people. second, by making a number of temporary tax provisions permanent it would deliver predictability and clarity and certainty for individual taxpayers as well as people managing businesses and trying to invest for the future. as well too well how the country manages its tax code makes absolutely no sense. how can families and local businesses count on tax relief each year as long as congress can't decide what's permanent and what's not. that confusion ends with this bill. with this bill in place, americans will no longer have to worry each december if congress will take action to extend
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certain tax relief measures they've come to rely on and this includes allowing state and local sales tax deductions for families, providing small businesses tax relief, and offering incentives for innovation including the research and development tax credit. third, this is a pro-growth bill. permanent tax relief will make it easier for employers to plan ahead and hire new workers and invest in the community. for americans frustrate by washington waste will be pleased to know that our bill contains strong measures to fight fraud and abuse in tax credit programs. these are the first significant provisions since the 1990s. and while these provisions are significant, they are only a small down payment on republican efforts to make these tax provisions that today are far too prone to error and abuse more accountable. next year congress will take more actions to ensure that people cannot take improper advantage of the current broken taxes. fifth, our bill reins in the irs
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and protects taxpayers. delivers the power to fire irs employees who take politically motivated actions against taxpayers. require irs employees to respect the taxpayer bill of rights and prohibits irs employees from using personal e-mail accounts for official business. after witnessing years of abuse in the irs we can all agree that these provisions are important taxpayer victories. finally this bill serves as a path forward to pro-growth tax reform by ensuring that we will no longer have to spend months each year debating temporary tax extensions. congress can focus on delivering a simple, fair, flatter tax code that's built for growth. i'm proud of the legislation and grateful to all the members of the ways and means committee and those on our gop conference who helped us throughout the course of the negotiations. there's a lot in this, but these are the key principles. the immediate bottom line is this legislation prevents tax increases, creates more job opportunities, makes it easier
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for americans to do their taxes. that's a great -- for american tax payers and people who want and deserve a stronger u.s. economy. i also need to make one more point about this bill. last week i was here to talk about the bipartisan customs report who will help american workers. while the house has done its work on this important package, the senate has failed to move forward. because the senate's inaction we have to extend the deadline for the provisions and deal with the authority to cut tariffs on environmental goods because they were so time sensitive the noncontroversial provisions are also in this extenders bill. with that, i'm happy to take your questions. dr. bustani are available to visit with the committee about this bill. >> chairman brady, thank you very much. very succinct and very clear. mr. levin, welcome back. we're delighted you're here. i would remind the gentleman at some points we do have problem hearing our great witnesses and would ask that you speak directly into the microphone.
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that sounds great. the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you, hello, everybody. i oppose this bill. we don't have the final score, i don't think, but it will add $600 billion to the deficit. tax extenders are temporary for a good reason. to address their impact on the deficit and also to take them up in the context of overall tax reform. and this bill does just the opposite. it essentially says there's a free lunch. it's the opposite of what was done by the previous chairman david camp who looked at all these provisions, made some of them permanent and others not and paid for them.
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plus the fact the bill isn't balanced. businesses receive about 60% of these cuts. let me say a few words of the impact of proceeding this way essentially affecting the budget baseline and making these permanent unlike the temporary. if you make them temporary you have to pay for them. in terms of the baseline. this just folds it into them. it will have a major impact on discretionary spending in the years ahead. that's the consequence of adding $600 billion to the deficit. nondiscretionary, nondefense
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appropriations today are at the lowest level in terms of overall economic structure since 1962. the lowest. also what this does by not offsetting now essentially saying they won't have to be ever, and so that means that, therefore, it's possible for, therefore, to be so-called tax reform with tax reductions that mainly benefit the very wealthy. and they essentially are arguably paid for themselves. on bonused depreciation it's another example of what we should not be doing.
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bonused depreciation has been used during periods of recession. the recession is behind us. the interest rate has been raised because of economic improvement, so what this bill does is keep the 50% for 3 years and then down to 40% and then to 30%. the likelihood is that that will continue and continue. and the overall cost of bonused depreciation on a ten-year basis is over $200 billion. also as part of the $600 billion package, and i'll be brief, you've been here a long time, it takes the two international tax provisions, tax provisions that should be looked at in tax reform. tax provisions in one case $86
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billion that is kept for a number of years, and the other the look-through that's made permanent. these tax provisions have been used from what we know essentially as tax havens to avoid some legitimate tax purposes. there are a number of provisions we very much like, the child tax credit and the other two that are also very important eitc and the education provision. but the price is too high in terms of an overall package, a package of $600 billion. i'll close with this because we've been going through this now for month after month with the majority republicans. they passed out of committee
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provisions that would essentially eliminate -- make permanent these tax provisions, and it came up to 6, 7, $800 billion. the notion was, i guess, that the more you increase the deficit, the easier it's going to be to raise -- to cut other taxes. it's counterintuitive. it works only if you believe that making other tax cuts pay for themselves. we've been through that now for years and years. it hasn't worked out. and that's another reason why this package on balance is a serious mistake and that's why i and many other democrats in the house oppose it. thank you.
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>> thank you very much. the testimony from both of you is important for this committee. it's important for members who are listening. it's important for the american public who will go these some 223 pages. our website has been inundated, people trying to get at this, to determine what it is, what's in, what's out, what might be included. i don't want to argue with any one of you. i will err on the side that i believe mr. chairman brady, what you've done is awesome. i'm not going to try to quarrel with you about we've saved $600 billion or not. i would characterize it that we should not have taxed and should have made permanent i.r.a. contributions to charity, should never have to think we were saving people's money. we were going to do that every year also, but instead of uncertainty, mr. chairman, as you talked about, we're giving
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certainty. i don't want to argue with anybody about what's right or wrong about depreciation. depreciation is about two-thirds of the tax code, but as you accelerate the depreciation, i will tell you it keeps our businesses young, nimble and clean and new and everything that needs to be done so that we're competitive and we don't grow old and stagnant. and a person's business means they update with the times. it means that they fix the problems that they've got no matter whether it's a.d.a. compliant or the modern times. i don't think we were going to tax them for that anyway and we shouldn't have. and lastly, r&r&d. mr. brady knows i came from high tech when i came to this job. i was a part of the original what might be called bell labs team that invented the broadband, broadband way back in 1986 when i was at what was called bell communications research. and we developed broadband.
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we didn't know what the future was, but we knew it would spawn off a revolution. technology, r&d comes from incubators, labs, all sorts of things that accelerate to make life better. and we should never tax and i tonight think we were going to tax r&d. it's a regular part of doing business, but we gave it to people without them having to worry about it at the end of every year. i think what you've done is given certainty. i don't know whether i would make a claim we saved $600 billion because i think we were going to not tax people at all, but what you have done is begun a revolution in this country where people can now follow their business plan from january 1st from now on, make wise choices and decisions, buy equipment, go out and purchase american-made products, tell your workers we want to include
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you in, knowing that they will be included. so, i'm proud of you. i'm proud of you. and i think it was a job not only well done, but a great lift for people who enjoy working and benefiting and making our country stronger. dr. burgess? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just want to relate to you how optimistic i am about the future of this bill in front of us. today is important. and i appreciate the work you put in, but chairman brady, as i think about next year and the things to come, the good things to come, i think the wind is at our backs for fundamental tax reform. people have been crying it for years. you'll make it happen. i am proud to be part of this. i can't wait to see what's next. i yield back. >> the gentleman from massachusetts recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me begin just for the record express my frustration over kind of this whole process.
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i don't particularly like the way, whether it's the omnibus or this, at the last minute we're being presented with this big package of a little bit of everything. and quite frankly none of us are going to know completely what's in it by the time we vote for it, so the process is very frustrating and that's not the fault of anybody sitting at this table. it's this institution. and it's the other body as well. but it is also i think a reflection on how our priorities haven't always been right. i do think, you know, we need fundamental tax reform. i think -- and -- but i'm at the point that i don't believe under republican leadership we're ever going to see it. because you've been in charge. you had a -- your previous chairman of the ways and means committee actually propose something and then nothing happened. and i -- you know, and quite frankly i am not confident that unless things change here in
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terms of who's running the show whether you're ever going to see it. but let me say this, one of the things that is -- and this is what is -- this is the dilemma that someone like me is in right now. but as much as i agree with all of what mr. levin have said, the paid-fors, where the lion's share of the tax cuts go. one of the things that's frustrating me most about republican controlled congresses over the years is the fact that i have felt that the most vulnerable in this country have been neglected time and time again. in this deal there is the permanent extension of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. i wish it were indexed for inflation. it isn't. but nonetheless to get those two things permanently extended for the people that i care most about, is something that you can't take lightly. and this train is moving -- is
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moving out of the station, whether we all like it or not. this is what is going to go to the white house. this is what the white house i think has said that they're going to sign if it gets to them. and so the dilemma for people like me is trying to figure out, you know, you know, what is the right vote. because, again, the process is flawed. the fact that they're unpaid for is flawed. but if this is the train that's leaving the station and something that is helping people that i think have been neglected for far too long by the people who have run this institution, you know, what do you do? i think that's where the -- you know, where some of us have to go through this and read it and figure out what the right vote is. but -- so i -- you know, i thank you for being here and hopefully at some point we will get a better process in place where we're not asked to deal with
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these kinds of things at the last minute when nobody can -- i mean, 2,000 pages on the omnibus bill, all the pages on the tax extenders, trying to figure out what the costs and implications are. the people's house should be run. with that i yield back. >> does the gentleman seek time to engage your witnesses? >> if you want to -- i don't want to cut anybody off. >> i'll make a brief comment with the indulgence of the chairman. we are going to do tax reform. a lot of hard work's been done over the past three years on the committee. past four years on the committee under chairman camp, chairman ryan and now chairman brady. we have examined the entirety of the code. we have put a lot of proposals out there and the american people want tax reform. i think that's something we can agree upon in a bipartisan way. the country desperately needs growth, economic growth, prosperity. and it's not going to happen without tax reform.
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we in this package have broken a cycle that's been around for a long time where we don't do much in terms of taxing. at the last minute we choose to extend some of these tax provisions on a temporary basis. it's created a tremendous amount of uncertainty for the american people, for businesses to plan. at a time when there's already this atmosphere of uncertainty with the economy to begin with. it's a terrible environment for business. the american economy must be made stronger. it must be put back in a position of prosperity and growth if we're going to be able to lead the global economy in growth which is also struggling. so, with this bill we've broken this cycle. we are now making some of these provisions permanent that we agree should be made permanent. we're setting the stage for tax reform. if we could have had further
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cooperation with the administration and our colleagues in the senate, perhaps we could have gone even further. i think this is a very ambitious package. it is pro-growth. it's going to help not only business but families. and it's a very important first step to moving forward on tax reform, and i hope that we will have a robust debate going into next year with our colleagues on the ways and means committee and the house and hopefully with our colleagues in the senate to move forward. but tax reform is an imperative. >> let me just amend what i said. tax reform that will actually pass both chambers and go to the white house to be signed. maybe that's what i should have said in the beginning and -- >> that is our goal. >> and part of the -- you know, part of my critique with some of the taxi issues brought up here is they seem to be focused on people who are well off and ignoring people who are struggling and vulnerable. i think it's important and i
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acknowledge in this package there's a permanent extension of the child income tax credit and the earned income tax credit. it's the only thing that gives me pause here. but i got to tell you, i'm troubled over the years that that population has been consistently and in some cases deliberately ignored. and so i hope we can get tax reform that is balanced, but i do think that, you know, again, i just -- the way this whole thing is brought up is not ideal, but i think you can't ignore the fact that people who are struggling in this country, 60 million people, you know, could be helped by this. and these are people that this congress has ignored, so i appreciate it -- >> can i just comment very briefly?
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i think your feelings are totally shared. i think one needs to understand this isn't a step forward to tax reform. it takes certain pieces and they said it's made permanent i'm afraid bonused depreciation by doing it this way will become -- >> put your mike on. >> i'm sorry. -- will become permanent. and let me just say a word about certainty and uncertainty. when you do $600 billion unpaid for, the result is certainty that the pressure on discretionary, nondefense will grow and grow and grow. as i said, it's the lowest level in terms of our economic package since 1962. it's been going down and down
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except in the few years after the '08 election. so, not only is this a step backwards in terms of tax reform, but it's also creating immense additional pressures on what matters most to the people who are in the middle-class and who are struggling out of poverty, and that is to be able to address discretionary programs, nondefense so that we reverse this trend towards more -- less and less discretionary spending, whether it's education, whatever it is, whether it's health research, whatever it is, you name it. the pressures on our budget have been so immense on the programs that matter so much. we haven't even been able to
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find real money for infrastructure. and this bill, $600 billion, moves us further and further in that direction. thank you. >> and i get it. i just -- again, this train is moving out of the[x&p station. and, you know, in it there's something that i care very deeply about. >> and i share that. >> and that's where we're going to have to wrestle with this over the next 24 hours, but i thank the chairman i yield back. >> yes, sir, judge hastings, you seek time. gentleman's recognized. >> i just think that there are going to be members here that are going to have angst because of the -- they're forced to vote on a really complicated matter in a short period of time. this bill is 233 pages. and i doubt very seriously if
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three-quarters of the membership have a clue about what's in it and what's not in it. also members are going to have some angst about the cost of this measure. and perhaps i need to get a firm figure by asking mr. levin and mr. brady, what is the cost estimate for this measure? >> the cost estimate -- >> yes. it is $629 billion over 10 years. >> is that correct, sandy? >> i guess that's the latest. i said 600. i guess we now have an estimate from joint tax. >> then when we post our vote, whatever date that is, i'll be interested in seeing what the deficit hawks in congress have to say. if they don't have any angst, then i guess i should shut up if they can get past their agony. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> does the gentleman wish to seek time with the committee? our witnesses? the gentleman may want to engage. give the gentleman time. >> yes, mr. chairman.
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>> i'll be equally brief. the good news is we've all seen these provisions. this was extended a year ago, all these provisions, unfortunately just temporary. for a year backwards, which means families, small businesses, couldn't even count on the tax relief that they were owed. four years ago we all voted on this exact same package as well. most of us could probably memorize and have the tax provisions here. so, the difference is we are making many of them permanent so our families and businesses can count on them. my thought, too, we probably ought to stop a bit of this charade on the cost. the truth is we have been extending these provisions for one year at a time every year. some of these have been extended for 34 years. others for 19, 17 years. we know them well, so whether you extend them one year without paying for them -- and you shouldn't -- or two years or five or ten, the annual cost is exactly the same whether you buy
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the pie one slice at a time or you buy the whole thing, the cost is the same. the difference is for growing this disappointing economy, the most disappointing recovery in a -- since world war ii, our families and businesses need this relief. i'll finish here. preventing a tax increase on family and businesses is never a cost. never. we've always worked hard as republicans to stop washington from taking more money from the hardworking taxpayers who earned it and our belief is this is not washington's money. this is our taxpayers. and in this instance the exact same price we provide them the tax relief they can count on. >> mr. hastings, could i -- >> yes, mr. levin. >> to call the $600 billion, $629 billion a charade is a serious mistake. it's a serious mistake for a number of reasons. when they're temporary, it has two benefits.
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you can examine them every year and you can delete them as the bonused depreciation should be deleted. there's also a major -- a major impact in terms of the tax basis and whether or not you have to pay for these reductions in the taxes. and your notion basically is you don't have to pay for tax cuts because they pay for themselves, and this is another step -- >> that's correct, mr. levin. >> -- that's been the notion behind the tax policies of the republicans. >> extending these temporarily have zero benefits. especially when you extend them in december 15th for the year that's almost done. and as chairman of the ways and means committee yourself, you extended these provisions without paying for them. i heard no complaints about
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them. honest true accounting -- >> don't say i didn't have any complaints. when we extended them we did not extend them thinking that they would be permanent. >> but you extended them for that period. >> yes, for one period. but you're doing this unpaid for permanently. that's what you're doing. >> yours were unpaid for temporarily. >> there's a huge deference. >> the difference is that people can't count on these provisions. >> gentlemen, i'll just reclaim my time. you all i'm sure have chewed on this measure repeatedly in your committee. and while -- >> we do know these arguments. >> while i have some concerns about the agony that those of us that serve on the rules committee have, i can assure you that i am pretty glad that i'm not on the ways and means committee because if you are talking about getting -- >> that's exactly right. >> if you are talking about
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getting caught in the weeds, i'm delighted for it. i am pleased to know that the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit are measures that were set to expire in 2017 are going to be considered. my overall concern is very simple. when you do things like bonused depreciation and other measures that are going to give multinational corporations and others benefits, i just favor poor people over corporations that take their money and go overseas and do inversion and all of these things that ultimately affect our economy in a meaningful way. i recognize that they create some jobs, but they do us serious damage by not paying taxes themselves and then the thrust always is on the poor. and that's why i stand against this measure and am prepared to vote against it in spite of things like the cadillac tax and other measures are being there.
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i will be voting no. >> the gentleman yields back his time, thank you very much. the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i say to my friend from florida sincerely, i do appreciate him raising the debt conversation. it feels duplicitous to have the conversation sometimes and not other times. i have to agree with the chairman. the worst vote i've taken was a vote last year to extend a tax provision for what i think amounted to 17 days and retroactively for just over 11 months. why in the world am i incentivizing someone to do what they've already done? this isn't my money. this is taxpayer money. just outrageous the ways and means tried to do it for two years. couldn't get it through the finance committee. we went backwards. i am conflicted over the amount of money that's involved here because it's absolutely weighs on my deficit conscience.
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i'm on the budget committee. i want to balance budgets. i want to see the future go forward. but every year, mr. levin, i sit around in that budget committee. i spend months crafting a budget that pretends that a tax provision's going to last a year that has gone on for decade after decade after decade. and if i'm going to have a serious conversation with my colleagues about whether it's lifting up folks up the economic ladder, whether it's encouraging job creation, whether it's international trade, whatever that is, we got to have a serious conversation. got to have serious numbers to have that conversation with. and the more that we do to get out of the fiction business around here and get into the tough decision making business, the better off we're all going to be. if we had had this annual examination of these tax extenders and what i learned in 4 1/2 years as a member is that meant we were critically looking at each one of these things and
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striking about half of them each year and adding another set of new ideas each year that i would absolutely be on board with you, mr. levin. but my experience is exactly the opposite, that it's a pro forma exercise every year that does nothing but undermine people's confidence in our system and you all are better than that. and i was listening in in the back room, dr. bustani, when you said, you know, folks are asking for tax reform, we're going to deliver tax reform. this is not the final question on whether or not this tax policy in this bill is the best tax policy to build america. this is the final statement on whether or not we're going to continue fictions in tax policy and then we're going to get about the serious business of reform in the future. >> would the gentleman yield? >> i appreciate your comments and i fully agree with them. keep in mind also the last two years we've actually examined these provisions in committee, in hearings. we've marked them up. we've actually subjected these tax provisions to regular order.
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in the past, we had this kick the can down the road attitude where end of year quickly we got to put a package of extenders together to extend them for another year with no certainty. and you're absolutely correct, there were farmers who wanted to buy new equipment and they had a very short window if any window at all depending on what their cash flow was because of the way bonused depreciation was treated last year in what we did. that's just unacceptable. we can't grow this economy. we can't give certainty to businesses. small businesses are the backbone of this economy. and for those who are struggling out there and need jobs, if we help our small businesses, they will create jobs and people will move up the ladder. and i will assure the gentleman from florida as well that our committee's not just focused on tax. we're also looked at welfare reform and make the program work for those who really need it to help them move up the ladder. we need certainty.
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this is a good down payment to get us moving forward on tax reform. >> let me just -- because i think you really hit the right note. look, i didn't agree with many parts of dave camp's proposal. but at least it was serious and it was honest. and it paid for what it proposed. and it looked at everything. it eliminated bonused depreciation. and what this bill does is to take two international tax provisions and take them out of tax reform, making the look-through permanent. now, that's for a number of years.
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and in terms of the advance proposal, the other one that's 80-some billion dollars, what it does is to take them outside of tax reform. >> i take your point, mr. levin. >> and that's -- that's a mistake. so, you shouldn't say that there's never been an effort to do tax reform. what happened was it was put forth. it was dismissed by the speaker. and now what we have is piecemeal efforts. and i think that's a mistake. and the impact of $600 billion, as i said, in terms of discretionary programs, appropriations, is going to be immensely serious. >> i don't mean -- >> i appreciate the time. >> i don't mean to presume to
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know more about tax policy than any of you all sitting at that table. but i would say that my experience watching tax extender policy is that it is -- it is no more persuasive to me that this bill closes the books on these issues than it is to say that the fact that we've been doing it every year for a decade leads these businesses to assume it's going to keep going on in p perpetuity. i don't know how you get to comprehensive tax reform unless everything is on the -- is on the table. if what the committee's position is, is -- mr. woodall if you vote for this thing today, we'll take them off the table forever and we'll never revisit them, then i'll share more of mr. levin's concerns. my assumption is we're providing what certainty we can today but everything is on the table in the context of growing american
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jobs through tax code. >> you are absolutely correct. in fact, the first step in pro-growth reform of the tax code is to answer the question is what is the tax code. today there's confusion. is it what the current law is. is it part of the temporary. is it all of the temporary provisions? and so this bill answers that first question. it makes a true, honest accounting of the current tax code going forward. it lays the foundation for fundamental reform. and for your budgeting purposes, also answers the question what is the u.s. tax code. this is a critical step. >> in the context of eliminating the fictions we operate under around here the fiction that businesses don't pay taxes needs to be eliminated. the very folks at the bottom of the income ladder who shop at walmart, who shop at kroger, who shop at safeway pay every single one of those taxes that the tax code places on those businesses and they're the least stable to be able to do it so the more we
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can do to create transparency in that xoed and understand the burden we're placing on these families, the better. and number two, for pete's sakes, more than 80% in of amern are paying more in payroll taxes than income taxes to perpetuate the fiction by fiddling with the income tax code we're going to help working families get ahead i would tell you is distortionary. folks who work for wages don't have any other choices except to pay these taxes, where the government gets the first knock. so i hope in the context of comprehensive tax reform, we don't just look at this income tax, but we look at that tax that does so burden working families in this country, and that's 15.3% payroll tax. >> i thank you all. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from ohio, mr.
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stivers. >> thank you. i would like to ask the chairman, we talked a little outside the office about the fuel cell language that was excluded when the solar language was included on the investment tax credit. could you explain to me again how that -- why that wasn't on the table and why that didn't get included here? >> yes, thank you for raising this issue. like you, we have those who are developing fuel cell technologies, thermal, a number of other areas, small wind that are provisions a part of that tax credit. and the answer is those technologies weren't included because their provisions have not expired. they will expire in 2016. and so there is no need to make those extensions in this bill. the larger package of renewables does include a five-year extension of the solar tax credit, which was a key
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discussion point in this overall package, especially related to the effort to lift the oil export. so the answer is those provisions stay in law through 2016. >> okay, thank you. and that is an important competitiveness issue. >> yes, sir. >> to me and my district. and i'm saying for all of the above energy plan. and that means we can't pick winners and losers. so i'm glad to hear that the reason that it was not included is it wasn't expiring. so have that debate next year. hopefully it won't expire. but we can have that debate next year when it's time. >> exactly. >> and i know everything happens when it's time. so i appreciate all of the hard work of everybody here. and i actually think this is a good compromise package. everybody gets a little something. everybody has some things in there they might not like. but it helps a lot of people through the earned income tax credit and the child care tax credit. and it helps grow our economy through the r & d tax credit and the 179, making all those permanent.
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and it looks for a lot of other individual extensions for a shorter term. but i think it's -- it sets you up really well for tax reform, as you said, mr. chairman. and i appreciate all of your hard work on it. and i'm sorry we're not going to get a unanimous vote on it, but i'm sure going to support it. >> the gentleman yields back his time. thank you very much. the gentleman from alabama. >> mr. chairman, a lot of the clock is a gift to humanity. i have no questions. >> the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from washington. >> follow that. >> trump that. >> gosh. >> as scrooge, i'll just have a short question, comment about the legislation. you know, i come have a state that we don't have a state income tax. and every year the question of whether you can deduct your state sales tax comes up.
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and sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't. but it's a big deal. those people in the state of washington that do take advantage of that deduction, it's huge. almost a third of the taxpayers do. and it comes up to almost $2 billion in -- that impacts families in my state. you know, it may be counted as increasing the deficit, but in my way of thinking, that's their money, not our money. that's not the u.s. government's money. if you're going to let taxpayers keep more of their hard earned money, i don't think that's a cost. i think that's a real benefit. so that's one thing that i'm very appreciative that is in there and made permanent. well don't have to argue that every year. and also, it's very important for many of the people in agriculture in my state, just as you were talking, doctor, about
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the certainty of being able to plan financially and not at the last minute or the end of the year, if you're fortunate enough to have any money left overdo you buy that piece of equipment there or not. to have that ability to make those plans for 12 months instead of maybe 12 days i think is something that is a huge thing. so i'm very appreciative of those kind of things. the research and development tax credits are very good there is a lot of good things in here. it's not perfect, like anything we do around here, probably not. but i appreciate very much your work on this. and look forward to supporting it. >> thanks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. gentleman yields back his time. i want to thank all three of you for taking time to be with us today. i know you had to excise a lot of your afternoon for this. it's important for this committee, it's important for members, it's important for us to express not only in the hearing form but to get the
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correct expertise to address this properly. i think all three of you have done that i want to thank you for your time. >> yes, sir. >> if you please make sure you leave our awesome stenographer anything you brought in writing, thank you very much. i would now like to call up the panel of members. i recognize that what we're doing here now is allowing testimony that would be on any part of the two pieces that we have today. i would just simply ask that anyone who is wishing to give testimony would specify to us really which bill they're in reference to and they give us that help. i would ask mr. tonko from new york, mr. carney from delaware, mr. jordan from ohio, mr. griffith, if he chooses, from the state of virginia ms. lummus
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has walked in and she has been the most faithful person. i bet they're going let you sit next to mr. carney. give her that chair. you were very kind. so we will go the four of us. mr. griffith, if you will choose to be with mr. mulvaney, that will not bother me. i'll let you decide what to do. are you sfeeng same matter? i would encourage the gentlemen please wait. we'll hustle through. this i know you've been very patient. mr. jordan might have been here for the same matter. we'll include him. ms. lummus, you get the award for being here the longest. i don't know if you came from the longest place, but you're from the longest place away. gentlewoman from wyoming is now recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i very much appreciate the work of the appropriations committee, of this committee and the negotiators of this omnibus
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bill. have i proposed an amendment that would take only the interior and environment sliver out of this bill and subject it to a continuing resolution until february and allow the rest of the bill to go through without being subject to a cr. so it would be only that very sliver that rempts to the interior and environment subcommittees component of this omnibus bill that would be subject to a cr. the reason that i'm asking for this amendment is that i don't want to interfere with the very good work that negotiators have completed in the remainder of the bill. but it appears to the western
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states in florida and people that are very concerned about the interior department and epa components of this bill that the position that the negotiators took left the western states and coal producing states and natural resource issues on the negotiating table in a way that was a greater sacrifice than any other component of the bill. in other words, the west in particular is particularly aggrieved. so it wants to sever itself out and continue negotiations on that part of the bill through february and allow the rest of the omnibus to go through as negotiated. let me give you some examples.
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and i'm sorry that the gentleman from oklahoma who is on this committee isn't here to hear this. earlier while i was listening, he was explaining his concern that authorizing committees are not doing their job, therefore riders are put on bills that are policy oriented. and we should limit appropriations bills to appropriations. and yet this very bill violates that premise in a big way. this very bill funds the land and water conservation fund, even though its authorization just lapsed two months ago and even though the natural resources committee has had a hearing on a working draft to reauthorize the land and water conservation fund


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